April 7 Lent 5
27 Israel lived in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. They settled in it, had many children, and became numerous. 28 After Jacob had lived in the land of Egypt for seventeen years, and after he had lived a total of 147 years, 29 Israel’s death approached. He summoned his son Joseph and said to him, “If you would be so kind, lay your hand under my thigh, and be loyal and true to me. Don’t bury me in Egypt. 30 When I lie down with my fathers, carry me from Egypt and bury me in their grave.”
Joseph said, “I will do just as you say.” 31 Israel said, “Give me your word!” and Joseph gave his word. Then Israel slumped down at the head of the bed.
Comment: the life of Jacob, renamed Israel, witnessed so many blessings and heartaches; many of which were of his own doing. Yet he grasped God and would not let go. Remember Israel means one who struggles with God. The highs and lows of his life and the lives of his children serve as a constant reminder that God does not turn away from our own chaos.
17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”
18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother.” 20 “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
23 Looking around, Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom!” 24 His words startled the disciples, so Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” 26 They were shocked even more and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.” 28 Peter said to him, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you.”
29 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news 30 will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.”
Comment: more of Jesus’ famous reversals: children belong, the first shall be last, all things are possible for God, and follow an apparent loser who is the Good Shepherd. God is good!
Hurry, God, to deliver me;
hurry, Lord, to help me!
2 Let those who seek my life be ashamed and humiliated!
Let them fall back and be disgraced—
those people who delight in my downfall!
3 Let those who say, “Aha! Aha!”
stop because of their shameful behavior.
4 But let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you,
and let those who love your saving help say again and again:
“God is great!”
5 But me? I’m poor and needy.
Hurry to me, God!
You are my helper and my deliverer.
Oh, Lord, don’t delay!
Prayer: Lord, hear our prayer and those of anyone feeling oppressed. Amen.